6 Reasons to Study Abroad Sophomore Year

Nina Trach
April 10, 2019

As a student studying abroad in my second year of college, instead of the more common third year option, some of my classmates and friends have asked why I made the choice to head overseas “early.” I had so many reasons to spend sophomore year in Spain—here are some that had the biggest impact on my decision.  

1. Language Immersion

It’s no secret that learning a language can be harder when you're older, and while a year may not seem like a huge difference, it can be when you’re eager to eventually gain fluency in a second language. It’s exciting that after living my life in Spanish for five months I can return to school and still have four semesters to improve my language and grammar at my home university before heading out again into the real world. I’m admittedly a bit impatient with my desire to learn Spanish, so it was a no-brainer for me to go abroad sophomore year for this reason alone.

2. Get to Know YOU Even Earlier

A big part of going abroad is getting to know more about yourself personally, some of which you can only learn when you place yourself in a completely different environment. I have found this to be incredibly helpful in the first half of my college experience. By pushing myself out of my comfort zone early, I have a clearer picture of what I do and don’t want to continue with/begin academically and socially during my remaining time at university. Through my classes, internship, and daily experiences abroad I’m learning more about what kind of student, professional, and person I want to be in the future.

3. FOMO Still Exists Later 

FOMO, the fear of missing out, can definitely be real while overseas. It’s hard to be away from friends, family functions, and school traditions for a whole semester. Time doesn’t make it much easier to be away from friends and family, though. I was a bit worried that I might not make studying abroad a reality if I waited until leaving Penn State felt more comfortable. While it did initially feel a bit early to leave campus just when it was really beginning to feel like home, I’ve found a new home in Granada and know that my friends are always waiting for me back home (or on Facetime!).

4. Getting Back on Campus

By choosing to spend some of the first half of my college years abroad, I feel like I’m setting myself up for success when I return to campus. With two full years remaining, I’m excited to get back on campus and apply what I’ve learned to all the clubs and organizations that I am already involved in or looking to get involved with after returning from my adventures in Granada. I’ll go back to school with a set of fresh eyes and enough time to enjoy campus with a new perspective.

5. Explore Even More (if that’s your thing!)

One of the perks of a sophomore study abroad experience for many people is the time remaining to have even more experiences abroad. Though I’ll personally be returning home for the fall semester due to commitments on campus, some people come abroad and find that one semester is just not enough for them. As a sophomore it’s exciting that there’s still time to spend a second (even third!) semester abroad that you may not have expected to want or planned ahead for. Of course there are opportunities for anyone who wants to spend an extended time abroad to do so, it’s just an added bonus that as a sophomore you have a bit more time to work more travel into future academic plans; whether that’s through a second semester, summer internship, or shorter program.

6. Why NOT!?

But really, why not? Though studying abroad as a sophomore may take a bit more planning at the beginning of your time in college, it is so worth the effort. This experience is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and if that means going abroad earlier than some of your friends, don’t let something as trivial as age hold you back.

Sophomore year just so happened to be the perfecting timing for me, but at the end of the day, the best time to study abroad is when it works best for you. It doesn’t matter when you go, just go!

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Nina Trach

<p>Hi, I'm Nina! A proud Jersey girl and sophomore at Penn State, I have a passion for all things food, music, culture and crafting. Join me as I test my Spanish skills while living out my Andalusian adventure this semester!</p>

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